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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
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's review
May 05, 2017

it was ok
bookshelves: arc-copy, net-galley, 2017

Okay, I can officially say that books about (teen) assassins bore me to death. Ironic but oh so true.

The book promises the following:

• Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo type of book. Now I have read neither but readers everywhere go nuts over the two so I thought I might as well give it a try.
• A compelling gender fluid main character
• Impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

What I got? Imagine someone thinking, can there be a book that's a crossover between the Hunger Games, a tiny bit of Game of Thrones (I should have spotted that one from the blurb), a Divergent-like training setting, numbers instead of names and of course a gender fluid character? And this is the result.

It might sound like a nice mixture but its mostly just confusing.

Our character, Katniss Sal is gender fluid but that's all you'll get. At roughly 10% you get a quote saying "I dress how I want to be addressed, he, she, or they." which is awesome but that's all the explanation we're given. And no, I don't need to have an explanation but this is a brand new world I'm entering and a line like that makes me believe that acceptance is something that won't be an issue and yet we get a few scenes where the character gets emotional whenever someone does anything to show acceptance, which leads me to believe its not a given? But I don't know?

Our character and 22 more are all named using numbers, 1 to 23 and they wear masks as they compete for the Left Hand as the Queen's assassin aaaand I'm bored to death. We get no names, no facial characteristics, nothing. In theory its a nice way to make everyone equal (?) but it gives the readers nothing to connect with or care for that matter.

Plus a few things don't make sense:
• If any one of the 23 candidates are caught with enough evidence of killing anyone they'll be disqualified. Then what's the point?
• Our character is illiterate but goes from barely being able to read "cat" to suddenly reading when the plot demands it?

The one thing that made this book interesting was the one thing that didn't get explored. The gender fluidity might as well not be there, it is barely mentioned and it changes nothing as far as the plot goes or even the character. Was that on purpose, was it a bait? Who knows. The rest is just Hunger Games with a touch of everything in between.
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Reading Progress

February 3, 2017 – Shelved
February 3, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
May 5, 2017 – Started Reading
May 5, 2017 – Shelved as: arc-copy
May 5, 2017 – Shelved as: net-galley
May 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 12, 2018 – Shelved as: 2017

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